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In my first year of campus the Communication skills lecturer asked if anyone had heard of the Chernobyl disaster, the whole lecture hall of about three hundred plus students went into pin drop silence. Suddenly, a single hand much to the awe of all students, was raised and its owner went on to explain all the details of the incident to further awe of all of us. He was very good at history and international affairs, and knew a lot of which we had no idea of. It was however unfortunate that the communication skills unit was not a core subject of the bachelor’s course we were both studying, and therefore didn’t count for much. A year later he dropped out of campus, owing to lack of passion for the course and word started doing the rounds that he had started selling milk in a kiosk in the nearby slum just outside the campus. I couldn’t help but think… what a waste of brains!

Another of my classmates didn’t even finish the first year of campus, she felt like the course wasn’t what she wanted and was constantly blank with regard to lecture contents. Before the end of the first year, she had dropped out and started blogging about fashion and is presently quite a fixture in the Kenyan newspaper magazines telling girls how to dress for this or that occasion and even recently went abroad, guessing as a result of her passion for fashion.

For myself, I continued with the course, as much as it killed me inside knowing it wasn’t what I wanted in life. I also realized that I fared better with theory and logic units, more like stories and facts, as opposed to pure equation units, a fact that I should have regarded, owing to the fact the bulk of the course was mostly dealing with equations. At the end of the four year course, I almost didn’t graduate with Honors, glad I did though, not for knowledge sake, but my pride, so I was safe, but was I satisfied with the knowledge I had gained?

Growing up, I was the bright boy who was always first in his class, I was society’s darling, among the nation’s cream academic performers. I managed to thrive in the cut throat education system, a system of pass marks and cut off points, if you ever told me that one day, I would be part of the Kenyan joblessness statistics, I would have laughed at you, for I thought I already had a ticket to the good life.

Society made it so simple: If you study hard and get good grades, you will obviously get a good job. Now, when I look at that equation, I realize there is something terribly wrong with it. No one factored in making good choices!

For my communication skills friend, the girl that dropped out, and the many of us that struggled to complete the course, none of us was stupid. We just made terrible choices with regard to the course we were to pursue at the university; we soon became alike to fish that were judged by their ability to climb a tree. I now realize that being bright in school is not enough, if you want to succeed in life, you must be prepared to make good choices. Good choices can only be made if you have an idea of what you want in life. It seems to me that sometimes good choices are the only difference between mediocre and excellent.